You know how something you've seen can be nasty, disturbing, whacked out, or just plain icky that it's inexorably burned into your brain? And you think, "Oh well, give it some time and the memory will fade." But of course, it doesn't.
On any given day, I can't remember where I left my car keys or who I promised to call. But these images are still unshakably lodged in my cranium. Hell, I'll probably forget the names of my children before some of these movie scenes slip from my mind. ;-)
Anyhoo ... I haven't actually written any reviews lately (happily, my co-blogger, Sarah, has been picking up the slack), and I thought this would be a fun post. The idea popped into my head while visiting one of my favorite bloggers and was partially inspired by Nikki's "Most Disturbing Films."
10. The Opening Masturbation Scene (Buddy Boy)
This scene isn't exactly disturbing -- the masturbation isn't even graphic. But there's something about it that's pretty skeevy. I don't know whether it's the fact that the very first time we meet Francis, he's having some Special Private Time. More likely it's this character's glaring lack of personal hygiene. Or the fact that the filmmaker immerses us in his world of frustrating yearning and religious guilt by interspersing shots of him wanking with bits of religious imagery. I'm not a particularly religious person, but at a moment like that, I really don't want to look at the Holy Mother.
O.K. -- it's probably a combination of all the above. For whatever reason, I have been trying to forget this scene ever since I saw the movie. Alas, it's to no avail.
9. Giving Mummy Her Medications (The Living & the Dead)
There are many unsettling things about this movie. The images of decaying aristocracy in a crumbling mansion. The mentally unbalanced man-child who acts like Tigger on crack. The hallucination scenes. The frenzied, jumpy editing. But the hardest part for me to watch was a manic, psychotic James -- in the process of rapidly decompensating -- aggressively force-feeding medication to his seriously ill mother.
Note to self: I must make an effort to be nicer to my children. Obviously, putting me in a crappy nursing home isn't the worst possible fate they could cook up for me.
8. The Woman in Room 237 (The Shining)
You're in a hotel that has been vacant all winter. You're told someone lurking in Room 237 tried to strangle your child. So you go up to investigate. Next thing you know, a very hot, naked wet lady walks out of the bathroom, and -- lo and behold -- she seems to fancy you. What do you do? Apparently, you just throw caution to the wind and start gleefully making out with her. Of course, in his defense, it had already been well established that Jack Torrence is a few crayons short of a full box. And far more prudent men than he have been known to have lapses in judgment when faced with wet, naked breasts.
I just love this screenshot. Here you see Jack -- whose already questionable sanity has been crumbling for the first half of the movie -- casually catching a glimpse of himself and the nubile interloper in the mirror. Huh? What? Something's starting to go badly wrong here ...
If you don't know what he sees next, you can Google it ("Shining woman in bathtub"). Maybe you won't be stuck with the image as long as I have been. Suffice it to say this movie did more to put people off hotel bathrooms that Psycho ever did.
7. The "Ass to Ass" Scene (Requiem for a Dream)
How far might a young woman in an advanced stage of addiction to heroin go to scrape together money for drugs?
'Nuff said. If you've seen the movie, you remember the scene. If you haven't, you may not thank me for describing it. And if you feel compelled by lurid curiosity, I have no doubt somebody's posted it on YouTube.
This is probably Jennifer Connelly's most memorable role. Just looking at her, in this scene, is agony.
6. Death of Children (Jude)
In case you haven't seen this film, or read Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure, I won't spoil it, except to say you catch a glimpse of dead children. I can handle all kind of gratuitous cinematic misery as long as it doesn't involve children or animals. Then all bets are off.
This is definitely a worthwhile movie, and one that deserves a wider viewing. But Thomas Hardy didn't carve out his literary niche reflecting the joyful side of human existence. It's a tough film.
And yes, that's a pre-TARDIS Christopher Eccleston up there, and he gives a brilliant performance here.
5. The Worst Toilet in Scotland (Trainspotting)
The scene is strange, disgusting, surreal, and powerful. And as a young man dives into a filthy toilet to retrieve his precious cache of heroin, it makes an indelible statement about where addiction will take you. Of course that's not the worst part of the journey. Not by a long shot.
In case you need any persuading, this film will definitely put you off heroin abuse. And public toilets.
4. The Curb Stomp (American History X)
The thing I love most about this movie is that it takes a thoroughly repulsive, unredeemable character and has you pity him, then root for him.
I won't describe this scene -- everyone who's ever seen this film needed therapy to purge it from their minds. Suffice it to say, I don't know which is more disturbing, the heinous act of violence to which we bear witness or the perpetrator's smugly gleeful reaction.
3. The Scalping and Flaying (Red, White & Blue)
The scene description speaks for itself. This movie exceeded my fuckedupness threshold, and I'm in no hurry to sit through it again. However, it's a worthwhile film, especially for Noah Taylor's engrossing performance as a calculating sociopath.
2. The Baby (Trainspotting)
Probably the most devastating aspect of addiction is the guilt and regret carried by parents whose substance abuse has cause them to harm or neglect their children. This scene will stick with me until the day I die.
1. The Dog Killings (Tyrannosaur)
There are many things I admire about this film -- I can see why Sarah is a tremendous fan of director Paddy Considine. Not the least of them is its ability to take an emotionally unstable, destructive man, who most of us would be inclined to loathe or dismiss, and have us connect to his human side. What can I say? I really dig social realism.
But I will Never. Sit. Through. This. Movie. Again. I can take everything in it but the brutal dog killings. Don't kill children and dogs ... that's all I'm sayin' Is that too much to ask?
The Whole Damn Movie (Dead Alive)
I know my esteemed co-blogger, my husband, and my friend m. brown are fans of this movie. But
early on, this movie exceeded my threshold for camp, and it just kept
going. There was something about all the gratuitous, campy gore that
made me want to gouge my eyes out. Meanwhile, everyone else in the room
was laughing their asses off. Oh well -- to each his own.